New Orleans Hotels - Overview
Recovery Status for Fall 2006:
New Orleans is well on its way back to re-claiming its place as a fully functional tourist destination. The recovery was aptly demonstrated with decisions to hold Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest celebrations in Spring 2006 as usual, as well as by Tulane's "miracle" graduation ceremony that featured past Presidents Bush and Clinton. In fact, all five New Orleans universities—Tulane, Loyola, Xavier, the University of New Orleans, and Dillard—have reopened
All but a few of the 13 airlines that serviced the City are shuttling flights in and out of the City. Taxis, bus service and the street care are functioning. Touro, Tulane and Charity hospitals have all been reopened for months. It is reported at the close of summer 2006 that 103 out of 140 metropolitan area hotels are open, with over 70% of the original 38,000 hotle rooms available. Of these rooms two-thirds are open to visitors, while the remaining third is contracted to various agencies. Ninety percent of downtown hotels are open, however, the Fairmont and the Ritz Carlton continue to be closed for renovation. Both are expected to re-open by the end of the year. Remediation contractors in all the restored hotels conduct room-by-room assessments against EPA standards. After remediation work is completed, the clearance process includes visual inspection, as well as sampling for airborne fungal spores and ongoing monitoring. Restaurants are re-opening daily with any of the famous chefs back in their aprons, including Paul Prudhomme, Susan Spicer Donald Link and John Besh. Before any establishment serving food can be reopened it is examined by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for compliance with all regulations regarding water safety and food handling. To give you a better sense of the situation you should call ahead to your hotel and favorite restaurants to be sure they are ready for you or check on the site here for opening status. Air and water are safe for visitors (government air testing results). Harrah's Casino, the convention center and Riverwalk are open, as are museums including Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, the National D-Day Museum and the Aquarium of the Americas.
This is the New Orleans hotel overview page. If you want to jump directly to detailed hotel information, please click here for our top, all around hotel recommendations, or click here for an overview of the major chain properties in town. You can click here for hotels in the French Quarter, or click here for hotels in uptown New Orleans, or click here for a page about some exotic mansions and guesthouses. If these geographic references for New Orleans don't make sense, then click here for city layout information, or simply read a little further for an explanation of basic New Orleans hotel geography.
If you want to jump directly to a page about New Orleans restaurants, then click here. Or click here for a page about the best things to do while you're in town, and to start at the top click here for the New Orleans Guide Executive Summary.
I’m a little fanatical about location when it comes to a city like New Orleans where a central attraction is the Old Quarter, which is best explored on foot. Even if you have your own car and you aren’t interested in the French Quarter, then location is still important for several reasons. New Orleans is terribly difficult to navigate (see our sections on The Layout and Location, Location, Location). Bad neighborhoods are checkered through this city that won distinction in the 1990s as the homicide capital of America.
For a visitor, particularly a first time visitor, I think it is important to be visually connected to recognizable landmarks and it is important to have a little bit of insulation from the harsher parts of town. Lastly, with so many tourist dollars up for grabs, greater New Orleans is packed with hotels, many of which are so far away from the city center that they aren’t really in New Orleans at all. Our list is by no means comprehensive (there are a number of French Quarter hotels that we opted to omit for brevity), but each entry is carefully considered and included to give you the inside scoop. Wherever possible we provide the home Internet site for our hotel listings because there is no substitute for getting a look at the place.
In my view, the best location for a hotel in New Orleans is within short, safe walking distance of the French Quarter, but not deep inside the Quarter where street access and parking are complicated for vehicular traffic. The Hotel Guide offers five sections – (1) Prime Location, (2) the French Quarter, (2) Uptown New Orleans, (4) a section on the major chain hotels in New Orleans and (5) a final section on mansions and eccentric guesthouses. For our ten best picks (for both the Prime Location and French Quarter) I make it a point to tell you in the first few sentences what it is about the hotel that makes it worthwhile. Unless a hotel from a major chain is featured among my best picks you will find it the chain hotel section that gives information on the major franchises in town. Beyond logistical information, however, the chain hotels defy a detailed review and it is generally safe to assume that a Marriott or Sheraton or Holiday Inn in New Orleans is similar to a Marriott or Sheraton or Holiday Inn in any other southern American city with a population of half a million people.
The hotels in this guide are not categorized by price, but are included instead based on their ultimate quality and utility to the business visitor. Notes are provided on the relative level of expense, but the wary traveler should always call to check what price fluctuation affects your hotel of choice.
The pirate spirit of Jean Lafitte is alive and well in the mercenary hearts of New Orleans hotelkeepers. Given the slightest rise in demand (Mardi Gras, Jazz Festival, and any holiday of consequence), most downtown hotels sell out and prices shoot in excess of $200/night, rivaling peak rates in New York and Chicago. Many New Orleans hotels will impose a two or three-night minimum stay. There is very little relief from hotel expense except if you have a deal with one of the big name hotels (most conventions make this kind of arrangement with a major hotel).
During the notoriously hot summertime (after college lets out until Labor Day) many hotel rates fall dramatically and this is a great time to visit the finest properties at a bargain rate. Some of the most coveted summer deals are offered by the best hotels in town including the Ritz-Carlton, the Windsor Court, the Lafayette and the Soniat House in the French Quarter. During the rest of the year some of the private French Quarter hotels offer lower rates than the chain hotel rates, but you should book as far in advance as possible. Some potential French Quarter bargains include: Le Richelieu, Lafitte Guest House, Olivier House (depending on the room), and Hotel Ste. Helene (depending on the room). If you are unfortunate enough to travel when the hotels are booked up and can’t seem to find a room, try the uptown hotels as a last resort because they tend to book up last.
© Copyright 2006 Chris Cloud.
Last update: 9/5/2006; 8:34:04 PM.